Karl Fritsch

©Daniel Mayer

Karl Fritsch (born 1963 Sonthofen, Germany – currently living in New Zealand) is an artist renowned for his iconoclastic reinterpretations of jewelry tradition.

Fritsch commenced his education at the Goldsmith School in Pforzheim and worked for a jeweller before attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich between 1987 and 1994, studying under Hermann Junger and Otto Kunzli. In 1994 Fritsch founded a jewellery workshop in Munich. In 2006 he received the Françoise van den Bosch Award which is given biennial to ‘an international jewellery and object maker who is recognised for his/her oeuvre, influence and contribution to the field‘. Since 2009 Fritsch is based in New Zealand.

Fritsch primarily focuses on making rings, although he occasionally makes other pieces of jewellery and objects. His work is characterised by rough finishes, visible fingerprints and the use of oxidised silver. Moreover, Karl defies existing perceptions about jewellery by combining precious materials like gold, diamonds & sapphires with semiprecious ones and synthetic stones, silver, aluminium and glass. Karl uses lost wax casting, moulding, and reshaping of found materials to make his jewellery.

My approach to designing jewelry is very much based on the making…I keep testing what [metals] allow me to do and what they are comfortable with. When I start making, my brain starts joining in and ideas evolve within the process..there is an important element of accident. — Karl Fritsch

Fritsch’s work is being exhibited at fine art galleries and at jewellery galleries all over the world. His work has been chosen by leading international museums and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Pinakothek of Modern Art, Munich; Museum for Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum Turnov/Czech Republic; Museum of Decorative Arts, Montréal/Canada; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Auckland Museum, New Zealand and Te Papa National Museum, Wellington.